Archive for April, 2010


Do you have unexplained symptoms? Have you gone to doctor after doctor and taken test after test just to have the health professionals you’re going to for help insist they can find nothing wrong with you?

I feel your pain.

I was sick from birth. As an infant, I had terrible colic, threw up constantly and did nothing but scream and cry most of the day unless I was passed out from exhaustion. In early childhood I had terrible behavioral and cognitive problems that only grew worse as I went into my teenage years.

I moved out on my own at 17 and continued to go to doctors trying to find out what was causing the constant stomach and muscle pain. I didn’t know at the time that the emotional and behavioral problems were linked to the same culprit. It wasn’t until my hair started falling out and my weight dropped drastically that I went to a naturopath for the first time.

He looked over my medical records, my symptoms and my behavior and knew, almost instantly, that my problem was food intolerance related.

Eight years later, I’m following a healthy diet free of the foods that used to make me sick from head to toe; gluten, corn and processed sugars and to a lesser degree, beans and peanuts and I’ve never been healthier in my life.

Do you have a food allergy or intolerance?

Food intolerance has been linked to the following health problems:

  • Sinusitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Skin rashes
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Delayed learning
  • Behavioral/cognitive problems
  • Muscle pain
  • Flatulence
  • Candida (yeast)

among others.

As the digestive system struggles to assimilate what it is sensitive to, the body produces an inflammatory response causing one or more of the above symptoms.

Intolerance to wheat gluten has even been linked to autism spectrum disorders.

Also, those who suffer from autoimmune disorders such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome may develop food sensitivities that can worsen the symptoms of these conditions.

So what do you do if you believe your symptoms may be linked to food sensitivity?

While some would advise a blood test either done at your doctor’s office or through a home self-testing kit, my advice is to avoid this. Research shows, since we all make antibodies to the food we eat, blood tests for food sensitivity are too inconclusive to be of benefit.

Instead, try an elimination diet followed by the reintroduction of the most common foods that cause symptoms of intolerance. These being wheat, gluten, dairy, corn, soy, egg, citrus, nuts and seafood. 

The best example of an elimination diet I have recently come across is under the link below.

Elimination Diet

 Though it is categorized under fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, this elimination diet can be used by anybody who is looking to see if food sensitivity is the cause of their chronic ill health.

I would offer the diet I followed myself but it was mostly rice and vegetables and the above list has much more variety. 😉

Remember to keep a journal of what you’ve eaten throughout the day and don’t give up. It’s tedious at first but the results are absolutely worth the journey.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Check out the Product Review Page on my website for a list of natural products I’ve used to improve my digestive health.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

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You are what you eat, or so the old saying goes. But if you’re not digesting what you’re ingesting, your health is suffering.

Eating whole, raw foods helps start the process of digestion so your body only needs to supply a little of its own natural enzymes. The problem is, most people eat processed, overcooked foods and the pancreas has to work overtime to digest them. This places stress on the system as it spends more energy processing food than doing what it’s supposed to do; repairing damaged cells and keeping the immune system strong.

This is why over-the-counter antacids and other stomach remedies are immune from the economic downturn. We’re so used to eating foods our body has difficulty processing we think that flatulence, indigestion and irregularity are normal!

Not so.  And this is where supplementing your diet with digestive enzymes comes in. They help the body break down, absorb and assimilate the nutrients in the food we eat. This gives our pancreas a break, which, in turn, allows the body to heal.

I’ve personally experienced the wonders of digestive aids.

Even after eliminating the foods I was intolerant to, I still suffered from stomach distress, muscle/joint inflammation, headaches, sinus congestion and post-nasal drip. Compared to the pain I had been in, this was still a great improvement but when I ran across an article three years ago touting the benefits of digestive enzymes, I decided I’d give them a try.

The difference was like night and day.

The stomach cramping and gurgling I always experienced after eating went away, I became regular for the first time in my life and the constant low-grade muscle pain that had been in the background twenty-four hours a day all but disappeared. Because of digestive enzymes, I’m no longer limited to a diet of brown rice, steamed vegetables and plain chicken. Other than wheat, gluten, corn, beans and peanuts, I can eat just about anything I want.

The added bonus is since I’ve started taking digestive aids, my immune system has healed which, in turn, makes my body better able to assimilate, process and absorb foods on its own!

Digestive enzymes have been known to help people who suffer from acid reflux, food allergies, Crohn’s disease, sinusitis, irregularity, flatulence, candida (yeast) and much more.

If you have a weakened immune system or an autoimmune disease, you will definitely benefit from the use of digestive enzymes. Your body will spend less time struggling to process the food you’re eating and all that extra energy will go toward helping you heal.

And while you’re at it, trade in a few of those Big Mac’s for salads filled with dark, leafy greens, organic chicken, nuts and your favorite dressing. Your body will thank you. 🙂

Caution:

If you have never used a digestive enzyme before, start out slowly to see how you react. Some may experience loose stools as the body rids itself of toxins. This is especially true if your diet is rich in processed food. If you have an acute medical condition, consult your healthcare provider before trying any new supplement.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

So you’ve done yard work for the first time in months and you just know you’re going to be sore when you wake up in the morning. Just reach for some menthol-heavy cream and ibuprofen right? Not necessarily.

There’s a more natural (and less expensive) way of easing your aching muscles. Plus, there are some great added benefits!

Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate; an element our bodies need but do not absorb enough of through diet alone.

Just a fifteen-minute soak in a hot bath filled with 4 cups of Epsom salt draws toxins from the body, relieves stress and reduces inflammation. Another benefit is Epsom salt’s ability to regulate the body’s electrolytes. This improves nerve system function which alleviates anxiety and induces a deeper, more restful sleep. The sulfate in Epsom salt also stimulates digestion and improves the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

I’ve used Epsom salt for years to help with anxiety and ease inflammation due to my body’s autoimmune response. It’s real medicine and it works.

At less than two dollars a pound, you can’t go wrong with this tried-and-true folk remedy!

Caution:

If you haven’t done an Epsom salt soak before, use 1 cup of Epsom salt to start. Soaking in magnesium sulfate can cause feelings of lightheadedness and it’s best to begin gradually to see how you’ll react. Do not soak in Epsom salts if you are pregnant or allergic to sulfur. If you have a specific medical concern, seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner before using Epsom salt.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

An ounce of prevention

My favorite quote of all time has to be, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” ~ Benjamin Franklin. One of his similar but less familiar quote is, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Mr. Franklin imparted great wisdom in his time and it still holds true today. It is so much more difficult (not to mention so much more costly) to take care of a health problem after it’s already gotten completely out of control than it is to prevent it in the first place.

We are a nation of instant gratification and quick fixes. Therefore, to some of the more comfortable and sedentary among us, the idea of solving a health problem with more effort than it takes to swallow a prescription can be a bit of a turn-off.

Understandable. Which is why my advice is to take baby steps.

Eight years ago, the health problems I’d had since childhood went from bad to worse. My digestive system was terrible. I had no energy. I was down to ninety pounds and my hair had begun to fall out.

Desperate, I went to a naturopathic physician for help. He said something that surprised me. The problem I was having could be food-related. He put me on an elimination diet which basically meant I could eat nothing but rice and vegetables for a week or so and then, I was to gradually reintroduce foods to see what I reacted to. Well, other than being grouchy at the bland diet, for the first time in 22 years, I didn’t have terrible pain in my stomach. The fog that had been in my brain since birth began to clear. I could suddenly breathe through my nose. My anxiety calmed. 

When I did reintroduce foods, I found I reacted to wheat, gluten, corn syrup, beans and peanuts.

This fascinated me. That I could be so physically and mentally ill from FOOD was amazing! It sent me on a journey to better understand the human body/mind connection. I began to practice yoga and meditation, kept a food journal to see what form of nourishment my body best operated on and began experimenting with supplements.

The more I learned, the more I wanted to. I tried accupuncture, Reiki, homeopathy and went back to the days of old and studied simple home remedies.

Eight years later, I’ve had quite the accidental education. That’s what this blog is going to be dedicated to; what I’ve learned.

If you’re suffering from health problems and the doctors are still scratching their heads and telling you it’s “all in your head” trust me, I feel your pain.

There are simple ways to prevent illness of all kinds, not just food intolerances or autoimmune diseases.

So go brew yourself a good hot cup of organic green tea, put on some relaxing music and stay a while.

Your mind and body will thank you and the next time you go back to that doctor who didn’t believe you, you too can tell him, “I Told You I Was Sick.”

😉

For healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved